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Bobbing a Dog’s Tail

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Bobbing or docking a dog’s tail is the removal of a part of the animal’s tail. It can be done in two ways; the first involves restricting the blood supply to the tail with a rubber ligature till the tails fall off. The second way is to cut off the tail with surgical scissors. Not all dogs are docked to the same length, it varies concerning breed standard.

Historically docking was thought to decrease the risk of rabies and make the dog’s back strong. Today the most common and accepted reason is that it reduces the injury risk of dogs who hunt or herd. Docking is currently a controversial issue condemned as cruel by animal rights advocates and supported for as necessary for working dogs or dogs that are prone to injuries in their tails.

Docking can either be performed on a newborn puppy before they are a week old without anesthesia or when the dog is around 8 weeks and old enough to undergo anesthesia. A dog can maintain a clean tail when it is docked. Docking simply for cosmetic purposes is a contested
topic with a lot of dog owners strongly opposing the practice.